Is there a canonical definition of what makes a game fringe for this forum's purposes
My main focus has generally been digging into the stories around games that are outside the normal scope of a "games industry" history. Freeware, homebrew, and fangame stuff most obviously, but with enough vague wiggle room to dig into basically anything that doesn't get written about enough. (For example, I have a strong desire to really dig into the guts of how the shareware industry actually worked, despite, you know, Doom being among the most well-documented games of all time. But most shareware games weren't Doom!)
Above all my interest is in the people whose stories get ignored, and the communities that supported them in their work. I wouldn't be interested in making a podcast episode that was a deep dive into the development history of UT2004, and the hype cycle surrounding it on release, but I'd definitely consider talking about the fan community that surrounds it now, keeping it alive long after the industry has moved on, well within the scope of my project.
That said, that's just how I think of it. It's not like anyone else was using this forum for anything, so if you're excited to talk about a thing with the folks here, I'm sure not gonna stop you.
@spindleyq bless candle for making tools for the unskilled at html peasantry such as myself, I'm enjoying bipsi more than bitsy due to a few quality of life features not having to depend on plugins... Flickguy and tape window are also fun
all I remember about BYOND is space station 13 a complicated simulation game usually about sabotage shenanigans and clowns and the one time I played a doctor put my brain in a robot. The learning curve intimidated me.
I tried to go on furryMUCK once but I was too nervous around people I didn't know and now I'm in a private discord server of a subgroup that started in furryMUCK... thankfully not as nervous but we're not obligated to do the whole rolpeplay thing that was expected in the MUCK so... I feel more comfortable not wearing the mask! Furry culture...is strange... beautiful.
Interesting to hear from (and reminisce with) somebody that passed through the rpg2knet.com community. As it's creator I was always one or two steps removed from the people using it for its intended purpose, so it was a fun trip to hear from "the other side" almost two decades later!
I'd say every tool has its "grain", and Allegro's bread and butter was really "draw bitmaps on top of other bitmaps", with certain effects like scaling and rotation being very easy to add. But other things, which may have been straightforward if you had written the blitting code and were able to make tweaks to it, were much more difficult.
I remember putting together a demo game to show off my "skills" in the early TPU days, where I tried to build the most audiovisually impressive thing I could. The thing that gave me the most trouble: I wanted to reproduce the end-of-level screen-melting effect from Doom, and getting that to run fast was hard.
That game also had:
a pretty 3D fractal landscape generated by a VistaPro demo I got from a book called Virtual Reality Madness & More
huge 3d-rendered characters modeled in a tool called Imagine (I couldn't figure out how to texture pupils on his googly sphere eyes, so I just drew them on afterwards in NeoPaint and hoped I got them in vaguely the same place every frame (I didn't))
a title screen that I'm pretty sure had both gratuitous scaling and rotation
oh, and I animated some extruded text as a "company logo" in I think maybe TrueSpace 3D?
custom fonts EVERYWHERE; I feel like I must've had a tool for Windows that would export a TTF font as a bitmap that Allegro knew how to treat as a bitmap font. But if you wanted text in your game, you were probably gonna export a bitmap font. All I used it for was, like, "press start", and displaying your score, but I'm sure I had at least two fonts.
I definitely remember having to do a lot of fiddling to mash everything from these random sources into a sensible 256-colour palette. I had specialized commandline tools for palette generation & re-importing.
In general, I had a bunch of disparate free-or-pirated tools for creating visuals, and I used them about as naively as you could possibly imagine, and I suspect that had a lot to do with how my games ended up looking. It probably was not far off from the process that people making OHRRPGCE games were going through. Even my 3D stuff was made in tools that were designed to be accessible. I had a copy of 3DS Max, but I couldn't figure out how to make it do anything - I just knew it was "professional".
Gosh, yeah, the Minecraft project is SO huge. Like, it's not just terabytes of random zip files, he took the time to build tools to analyze and make it digestable. So if you want to explore a representative sampling of random Minecraft maps from the archive, there's The Reef maps. If you want a bunch of data to build Mastodonbots with, there's The Minecraft Geologic Survey. It must have been an enormous amount of effort to put all that stuff together. And pretty much once a year he takes another huge sample.